Posts Tagged ‘vegetable’

Celery, the Boring Yet Underestimated Vegetable

By Chris Burchell, MediLodge of Monroe Executive Chef

Well, this is a winter for the annals! We are near breaking the record for most snow recorded in one winter and we still have a month and a half to go. Oh Spring, where are you??? I suppose there is no good in lamenting over things beyond our control. March is National Celery Month. Celery is a vegetable often perceived as, well, boring! I mean it has to be boring, if it is the favorite staple for those wishing to shed a few pounds doesn’t it? Well my friends, while it may be a somewhat boring vegetable, celery has been important to us humans for quite some time.celery

Celery is believed to be originally from the Mediterranean basin. Ancient literature documents that celery, or a similar plant form, was cultivated for medicinal purposes before 850 B.C. During ancient times physicians used celery seed to treat the following conditions: colds, flu, water retention, poor digestion, various types of arthritis, and liver and spleen ailments. The Italians domesticated celery as a vegetable in the 17th century resulting in selections with solid stems.

There are two types of stalk celery varieties, self-blanching or yellow, and green or Pascal celery. In North America green stalk celery is preferred and mainly eaten raw although it is also eaten cooked. Celeriac, grown for its large bulb (commonly but incorrectly called celery root), is very popular in Europe where it is eaten cooked or raw. Currently California harvests about 23,500 acres per year, Florida 3,500 acres per year, and Michigan 3,000 acres per year. I absolutely love celeriac! Its flavor is made to be partnered with roasted meats, so I’m including a recipe I hope you’ll use with your next pot roast or leg of lamb.

Mashed Celeriac

Ingredients:

• 1 celeriac, peeled

• 1/4 cup olive oil

• 1 handful fresh thyme, leaves picked

• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

• sea salt

• freshly ground black pepper

• 1/4 cup vegetable or beef stock

Instructions:

1. Slice about ½ inch off the bottom of your celeriac and roll it on to that flat edge.

2. Slice and dice it all up into 1/2 inch cubes. Don’t get your ruler out – they don’t have to be perfect.

3. Put a casserole-type pot on a high heat, add olive oil, then add the celeriac, thyme and garlic, with a little seasoning.

4. Stir around to coat and fry quite fast, browning a little, for 5 minutes.

5. Turn the heat down to a simmer, add the water or stock, place a lid on top and cook for around 25 minutes, until tender.

6. Season carefully to taste and stir around with a spoon to smash up the celeriac.

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For more information on locations and services, visit the MediLodge website.  Find us on Facebook for up-to-date pictures or watch our YouTube channel for videos of events and activities.

MediLodge of Monroe

MediLodge of Monroe

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What’s Thanksgiving Without Pumpkin Pie?

MediLodge of PlymouthMediLodge of Plymouth loves pumpkin pie, standard fare at most Thanksgiving feasts. Many of us look forward to eating it for dessert once a year. However, if you are tired of that thick, sweet piece of pie at the end of this already-filling meal, consider some interesting alternatives.

Pumpkin is a very nutritious fruit — not a vegetable as most of us believe. Its scientific name is “cucurbita maxima,” which reflects the possibility of its “maximum” size. In fact, The World Pumpkin Federation reports the largest pumpkin ever grown weighed more than 1,000 pounds! There are about 26 varieties of pumpkin, ranging in color from bright orange to pale yellow and green.

You can find pumpkin mixed into soups, salads, main dishes, desserts (other than pies) and even drinks. Here are a few different ideas to get your culinary juices flowing: pumpkin soup, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin-chicken chili, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin muffins, scones, cookies, bars and breads, pumpkin butter, pumpkin-pecan cheesecake, pumpkin beer, pumpkin fudge,and pumpkin creme brulee. Recipes for these and many other pumpkin dishes are plentiful and readily available at your favorite online recipe site when you put “pumpkin” in the search box provided by the site.

MediLodge of PlymouthIf you want to start a new pumpkin tradition, roasted pumpkin seeds are easy-to-make and not as time-consuming as baking a pumpkin pie. It is a fun multi-generational activity which can be enjoyed by children all the way up to senior citizens as your Thanksgiving Day unfolds. Here are step-by-step directions: Rinse the seeds in cold water and remove the pulp and fibers, then drain and blot dry. Coat the pumpkin seeds with melted butter or vegetable oil and sprinkle lightly with salt or your favorite seasoning. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. One four pound pumpkin will yield approximately two cups of seeds. If you roast some of the seeds and plant others, next year you will have your very own pumpkin patch. Then you can select from pumpkins you have grown for use in recipes, thereby starting another tradition for you and your family!

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MediLodge of Plymouth

MediLodge of Plymouth

Foods That Help Hydrate from MediLodge of Yale

On a hot day, you know that a bottle of water is a must to stay healthy and hydrated. But eating certain foods can also help fight thirst while replenishing your body with vitamins and minerals. And make sure you know the warning signs of dehydration: dry mouth, decreased urination, sleepiness, headache and dizziness. To ward off dehydration, bring one of these snacks to the beach or enjoy a fruit or vegetable salad for lunch, then avoid the foods below that can dry you up.

Hydrating FoodsMediLodge of Yale

Strawberries: These in-season fruits are 91% water and contain folate and vitamin C.

Oranges: At 87% water content, oranges are hydrating and full of healthy vitamin C.

Iceberg lettuce: This lettuce is made up of 96% water, but it’s lacking in the nutrient department. You can try mixing it up with darker green lettuces, like romaine and spinach, for an interesting and varied salad that packs plenty of vitamins.

Cooked squash: Work squash into a yummy dinner stir-fry to gain the hydrating benefits of this 94% water vegetable.

Dehydrating Foods

Ice cream: Any food full of simple sugars, such as ice cream and candy bars, dehydrates the body because of the amount of water the body uses to break down those sugars. So if you’re strolling down the boardwalk with an ice cream cone, make sure you have your water bottle with you, too!

Nuts: A Planters mix might not be the best beach snack. Peanuts are only 2% water, and they contain protein, which has been found to dehydrate the body.

Alcohol: You probably know this one! Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes you urinate more frequently, which can lead to dehydration. To keep thirst at bay, and potentially avoid a nasty hangover, drink one glass of water after every alcoholic drink you have in an evening.

Infused water is a great way to refresh that glass of water. How about a ice smoothie or fruit smoothie. Iced Tea. Add ice in a blender. Add lemon if you like. There are many flavored teas out there: peach ginger is one of my “flavorites.” Chill and add ice. So pour a nice cool glass of that H2O and chill out this summer. Stop in the office for some infused water recipes.

From the desk of Charlene Wheaton CDM and Chef Bob, MediLodge of Yale

For more information on locations and services, visit the MediLodge website.  Find us on Facebook for up-to-date pictures or watch our YouTube channel for videos of events and activities.

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